Perhaps lost in the splendor of the Chiefs 40-9 victory over rival Oakland on Sunday is the pedestrian performance turned in by the offense, namely the receiver group.
While no one should scoff at such a dominant performance against a division rival, the cause for concern going forward may be warranted. The Chiefs returned everyone from a record-setting 2018 offense and players were quoted at training camp alluding to the idea that they could score on every possession.
Injuries, execution and teams’ ability to adjust have helped keep the offense at bay for much of the season. The team’s streak of 25 games scoring 26 or more points was snapped in week 5 as the Colts were able to keep the offense off the field for a large portion of the game.
Anyone seen a receiver?
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished Sunday’s game against the Raiders with 175 yards passing with two touchdowns (only one through the air). Unbelievably, the team’s receivers COMBINED for five catches and 55 yards and all of that can be attributed to Tyreek Hill. Obviously Travis Kelce has played a large role all season long and notched 90 yards in the game. But the question remains- does the team have another receiver besides Tyreek Hill that can be counted on?
Hill himself has been limited this season with various injuries with Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle picking up some of the slack along the way but none have been consistent. Watkins has been hit and miss after delivering a nine catch, 198 yard and 3 TD performance against Jacksonville in week 1. Week 2 saw Demarcus Robinson emerge as the next big thing but has been virtually non-existent since.
Chiefs receiving stats 2018 vs. 2019
|2018||Tyreek Hill||Sammy Watkins||Demarcus Robinson||Chris Conley|
|Stats||87 catches, 1,497 yards, 12 TD’s||40 catches, 519 yards, 3 TD’s||23 catches, 288 yards, 4 TD’s||32 catches, 332 yards, 5 TD’s|
|2019||Tyreek Hill||Sammy Watkins||Demarcus Robinson||Mecole Hardman|
|Stats||38 catches, 598 yards, 5 TD’s||42 catches, 538 yards, 3 TD’s||27 catches, 379 yards, 3 TD’s||23 catches, 450, yards 5 TD’s|
The stats show a major decline for Tyreek Hill obviously due to injury. Chris Coley’s absence has been more than made up for by rookie Mecole Hardman who shows the most promise amongst the receivers not named Tyreek Hill.
Can the Chiefs realize their potential this season without the emergence at the receiver position? Byron Pringle is a guy that showed promise early but is seldom used at this point. The complete lack of a running game and patchy offensive line play also play a role here, as does the fact that Patrick Mahomes has been banged up for a large part of the season.